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Sports Health: Injuries, Conditions and Treatments

Sports health covers a broad spectrum of topics – from sports nutrition to preventing running injuries to rehab exercises following an injury. A sport medicine physician, chiropractor, nutritionist or physiotherapist can help with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of injuries.

Common Sports Injuries

While there are many different sports injuries, there are some common ones across popular sports, including:

  • Tendonitis: This is an injury caused by repetitive movements or overuse. It leads to inflammation or irritation of the tendon.
  • Sprains and strains: When you have a sprain, the ligaments stretch or tear. Strains occur when muscles or tendons stretch or tear. 
  • Fractures: Players commonly fracture their wrists or ankles. 
  • Tennis elbow: Also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation or microtearing of the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle.
  • Concussions: Hockey and football players often experience concussions. They’re caused by impact or sudden acceleration or deceleration of your head.
  • Rotator cuff injuries: The muscles or tendons that stabilize your shoulder joint are damaged or torn. This injury could be from acute trauma, or repetitive movements. 

How to Prevent Sports Injuries

While you can’t prevent every injury, you can minimize risk. Before you exercise or compete, warm up with exercises. Then, cool down after you’re done. Use the recommended equipment such as helmets or shin pads. During your workout period, stay hydrated. 

It’s important to rest and recover as well. Give yourself time between games or workouts, or you may experience an overuse injury. And listen to your body. If something starts to hurt while you’re playing, take a break and/or see a sports health provider. 

Types of Sports Health Providers

There are several types of sports health providers. Depending on your injury or condition, you may see one or more of the following:

  • Sports medicine physicians: These medical doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries and conditions. Sports medicine physicians are specially trained in exercise physiology, musculoskeletal medicine, injury rehabilitation and sports nutrition. 
  • Orthopedic surgeons: They specialize in treating musculoskeletal conditions with surgery.
  • Physiotherapists: Healthcare providers who use non-surgical methods to treat sports injuries. They may use exercise, manual therapy, and other techniques to help you recover and rehabilitate.
  • Chiropractors: They focus on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders. They use manual manipulation, exercises, and other modalities to treat sports-related injuries and conditions.
  • Massage therapists: A massage therapist can employ therapeutic massage techniques customized to your needs. Treatments may include deep tissue massage and myofascial release to promote recovery and relaxation.

There is also a psychological component to sports health. Your mental health is essential to your performance, motivation and well-being. You may feel anxiety about performing or depression due to dealing with an injury. Seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist or counselor can help you be at your mental best. 

If you want to learn more about sports health, including sports injuries and conditions, talk to your physician, sports medicine doctor, chiropractor or physical therapist.

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